A Lavash and a Bagel Walk Into a Bar | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

A Lavash and a Bagel Walk Into a Bar

"Sausage Party" leaves a lot to chew on (sorry)

I can picture it now. Seth Rogen is in a pitch meeting with Sony and Columbia Pictures and he's got one hell of an idea. A hard R-rated animated comedy—in the vein of Pixar and Dreamworks animated films—about anthropomorphized food people coming to terms with their grisly fate. "Deadpool" proved that a "fun" movie can be rated R and make all the money, so the studio says, "Absolutely! Here's $19 million! But make sure it's dripping in double entendre, slapstick humor and as many F-words as possible." Then Rogen does something absolutely brilliant.

On the surface, "Sausage Party" is moronically stupid. Almost every character is an absurdly racist caricature; the jokes are mostly sophomoric, dude-bro centered dick humor and the main characters are only interested in sex. It's almost like the script for a porn parody fell inside a Pixar movie that's only interesting to people who think the satire in "South Park" is too complicated.

In Shopwell's Supermarket, all the groceries dream of one thing: being chosen by a customer (that they view as gods) so they can be taken to the promised land. It's there that they can all be together and frolic in the fields of eternity and be happy and satisfied forever. Being chosen is similar to death for the groceries, but without pain and fear. A sausage named Frank and a hot dog bun named Brenda can't wait to be chosen so they can move on and finally be together.

When a container of honey mustard is returned to the store, he tells a frightening tale of what really happens after leaving: instant and painful death by the monstrous gods. Frank and Brenda, (along with a bagel, a lavash and a taco) explore the depths of the store to find the truth behind their giant and hungry gods.

From front to back, "Sausage Party" is one juvenile joke after another. Some land and some don't, but that's not what's important. The truly remarkable thing here is that Seth Rogen and his co-writers and directors have crafted a movie that is secretly about questioning everything, including religion, the borders that divide humanity, and the ideas that are pumped into our heads from birth about what our purpose in life is. All of the big ideas are attacked in the film, and real and soulful answers are given.

The film features the voices of Rogen, Kristen Wiig, Edward Norton, Jonah Hill, Bill Hader, James Franco, Salma Hayek, Michael Cera, Paul Rudd and many more. We also have a lavash (Palestine) and a bagel (Israel) teaming up to prove they should follow their hearts instead of what they think their god wants. It's not just gutsy and smart, it's beautifully provocative.

By the closing credits even the purpose behind the dumbed-down humor is revealed, and it's brilliant. Everything in there (including the fact that the villain is a literal and figurative douche) is present for a reason. This is an incredibly smart and important film hiding in plain sight behind the marketing for a dumb cartoon about sex, drugs and race. "South Park" wishes it had half the heart and ideas contained in a single scene of this stupid, brilliant piece of filmmaking.

"Sausage Party"

Dir. Greg Tiernan & Conrad Vernon

Grade: A-

Now playing at Old Mill Stadium 16

About The Author

Jared Rasic

Film critic and author of food, arts and culture stories for the Source Weekly since 2010.
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